Home Forums General General Megagames

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #81570
    Paul Howarth

    As it’s a new year and we have a new calendar, I thought I’d put out a quick plug for Pennine Megagames. This year we’ve a mixture of historical, fantasy and sci-fi, with game sizes from around 40 to 70+.

    Are they boardgames? No…although there is usually a board or two there.

    Are they RPGs? No…although you’ll usually be given a named character.

    Are they LARPS? No…although some people like to dress the part.

    Are they wargames? Errr, sometimes and most games have some conflict resolution. Although you’ll rarely see a miniature.


    Hope to see some of you there.


    I am intrigued…

    Is it essentially story telling (you play a defined part) but using whatever tool (board game/card game/ LARP/ miniature wargame etc) is best for moving the game forwards?

    Guy Farrish

    Are they anything like these?

    Megagame Makers

    I recognise Jonathan Pickles name for one.


    Paul Howarth

    That’s probably a good summary Mike – there’s a page  I wrote here http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/a-guide-to-megagaming.html

    I gave up trying to write a full definition as different people value different elements. They started as operational wargames under Paddy Griffith and Andy Callan, but the political side of most games is very popular. In my Justinian-era game, there was a resource management element on a board for governors, a simple campaign system on open maps for the generals (allocating unit cards to three zones, plus combat cards and reserves if necesarry) which resolved battles in 5 minutes or so and a political support/impressively blinged buildings game in Constantinople, all the while Justinian was trying (and failing) to manage things and the Sassanids made deals with people. Standard wargames rules take too long, but even in a military game you want (ideally) at least three layers of command to build in friction and fog of war.

    Paul Howarth

    Indeed they are Guy, although Pickles is actually on our calendar this year with a Mexican revolution game. We try to aim for a mix of genres, so cater for a range of players. The MM calendar tends to be more historical, although I am running my VBCW game down there in May.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Paul Howarth.
    Ivan Sorensen

    Do you have a blow-by-blow of one of these games anywhere?

    From a read, it reminds me of a matrix game, but it seems there’s a little bit more structure involved here.

    Nordic Weasel Games

    Paul Howarth

    Do you have a blow-by-blow of one of these games anywhere? From a read, it reminds me of a matrix game, but it seems there’s a little bit more structure involved here.

    AAR are quite common – we have a bunch spread amongst the game archive pages, e.g. http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/a-very-british-civil-war.html but blow by blow is very difficult as there are so many perceptions. You usually finish a game with a debrief to try and make sense of the bigger picture and what people’s objectives were.

    I wouldn’t compare them to a matrix game. Due the sheer number of players, there’s far more confusion and need to focus on your small area rather than getting the whole picture. Whilst you have a control team, there are usually mechanics to deal with resolving situations.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Paul Howarth.
    Guy Farrish

    I haven’t played in one of the peninemegagames but I’ve played in quite a few megagagmes over the years and I can recommend the concept wholeheartedly.

    Paul, I saw that Jonathan was running one of yours this year – which is partly how I guessed it was the same type of thing as Jim Wallman’s operation.

    I think it is a great idea to have a northern based group running this type of event. The interaction of large numbers of people working in hierarchical teams gives something simple tabeltop games cannot deliver.

    You already look to be successful, I hope you continue. Almost makes me wish I still lived up there.

    If anyone wants to try something truly memorable I’d recommend giving this type of game a go.

    Paul Howarth

    Thanks for the endorsement Guy. I started when MM began operational games at Leeds Armouries 5-6 years ago and then started to go to London.

    3 years ago I met with Jim to see about getting more games going up north and started PM in the summer. Originally I envisaged a couple of games per year but we had drawn up a full calendar almost immediately. There are changes afoot in London at the moment, with Jim stepping back from MM and a new group (Horizon) running non-historical games. We’ve managed to get a good number of players to transition from different genres to others and have most games designed to cater for different roles so we’ll stick with a mixture.

    Paul Howarth

    I was a bit confused there Tim, but I think you’ve found the event pages on Facebook. Yes, the games themselves are in-person. There’s been some questions (particularly from groups setting up in the US) about the possibility of online games, but that physical interaction with people is a key element, particularly when the game turns are on a strict timetable. It’s £30 per player for the day, which goes to the designer to cover costs.

    I have been involved in a number of planning games in advance, but they’ve usually been by email. When we put on a game by Megagame Makers deigner Rob Cooper (Cold War Gone Hot, 1983) I decided to try using Facebook groups. We started with the high command, then created groups for lower commands, issuing their briefings and asking them to submit pictures of initial deployments. It snowballed massively and needs watching, but did mean players were very engaged and also knew one another before we started.

    It also helped that for the game itself I’d managed to get access to a former country house that is now an Army Reserve centre, Endcliffe Hall in Sheffield. We’ve also got it for our Case Blue WW2 game this summer and I want to run a German-Czech 1938 game there in the autumn. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjnpo_ajdHYAhVqKMAKHSpnDKcQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2F30120216%40N07%2F15286758198&psig=AOvVaw1FKz8bBViZoO8CISVPSg80&ust=1515801211744625

    The operational games can be less popular than the political-conflict games so we’ve been running taster sessions at wargames shows and I thought I’d come here too.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Paul Howarth.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Paul Howarth.

    I’ve played a few of these, and they are hard to describe  unless you’ve played one. Imagine a huge commitee game (so lots of players, lots of roles and various supporting props).

    It is certainly possible to play them online, as with John Bassetts games on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Berlin Wall Crisis, although in that case it was more a matter of having a sets of team connected by the  miracle of the internet.

    It is the player interaction which makes these things work, same as the really big Megablitz games with 20+ players (although they do generally feature toys).






    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.